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Are Online Vision Tests a Safe Way to Renew Your Prescription?

If you’re wondering how safe and reliable online vision tests are, you’re not alone. While seeing an optometrist or ophthalmologist in person may be required for some people, many patients can get simple prescriptions for contacts and glasses renewed with visual acuity tests performed online. Find out if an online vision test is right for you!

After more than a year of Zoom meetings, FaceTime family reunions and telehealth doctor visits, we’ve all gotten a lot more comfortable with taking care of things virtually. Now you can add at-home eyecare to the list of things you can accomplish—without changing out of your pajamas.


Online eye exams can’t yet provide all of the services of seeing an optometrist or ophthalmologist in person. But these increasingly sophisticated procedures are a convenient way to renew your glasses or contact lens prescription.


Here’s what you need to know before taking an online eye exam.


What to expect during an online vision test

Traditional, in-person eye exams typically use a lot of sophisticated equipment to measure your eyes, test your pressures, analyze optic nerves, etc. And, for now at least, there are only some aspects that you can recreate at home using just your computer and a smartphone.


Most online vision tests are a tool to test your visual acuity (how well you can see). Depending on the exam, you may be asked to read an eye chart  sitting or standing a certain distance  from your computer, or use an app on your phone to test your sight.  After completing the test, your results should be sent to a licensed eyecare provider before you receive a prescription for updating your glasses or contacts. At Quadrant Eye, your test results and prescription are alway reviewed by our highly trained optometrists and ophthalmologists to ensure safety and accuracy. If they spot any potential problems they will recommend a visit to an eyecare professional. 


How accurate is an online eye exam?

Used correctly, an online eye exam can accurately measure your vision and provide a prescription for renewing your glasses or contact lenses. Because contact lenses need to be fitted onto your eyes in person, it’s not a good idea to use an online exam if you’re new to contacts or are planning to change brands.


As online eye test offerings progress toward offering more complete at-home eyecare, the process may be able to help diagnose more serious eye health issues. For now, the best case is that the exam might flag a potential problem—but it will be up to you to follow up with an in-person appointment.


Who can use an at-home eyecare exam?

For the millions of people who wear glasses and contacts, an online exam may be all they need most years. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that healthy adults up to age 40, who have no risk factors for eye disease, need a full, in-person exam just once every five years. And those 40 to 55 need a comprehensive exam every two to three years.


However, online eye exams aren’t for everyone. If you are over age 55, have diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of eye disease, you need to see your eyecare provider for a full exam every year.


The QE Perspective: An online eye exam is a great tool for renewing a glasses or contact lens prescription from the convenience of your home. But at Quadrant Eye, we want to take that tool from just a simple vision test to a true form of at-home eyecare. Millions of Americans don’t have easy access to quality eyecare. We’re addressing this issue by elevating online eye technology to bring eyecare into the home. One day soon we’ll be able to identify eye problems at their earliest stages to avert cases of preventable blindness.

Sally Wadyka
July 22, 2022
5 mins reading
Reviewed by:
Quinn Wang, MD
Quinn Wang, MD